Trees for Cities have teamed up with the Woodland Trust to offer hundreds of London primary schools free tree packs. We think trees and hedgerows can go hand-in-hand with your food-growing school gardens, so find out more about Trees for Schools here while supplies last!
The hats and gloves have been packed away and the sun has been making an appearance across the country. With the warmer and lighter days comes the opportunity to pull on your wellies and start growing food at your school this year.
We know it might seem a bit daunting at first so we have put together a series of blogs to help you spring over the hurdles and get started.
Our schools survey showed that around 30% of schools consider lack of space to be one of the biggest hurdles to food growing that they face. So, first things first – where can we grow?
If you happen to have a nice sunny spot on your school playing field then great, start digging! But if not, don’t give up. Lots of food can be grown in containers of all shapes and sizes on the ground, on windowsills or hanging down.
John Ruskin Primary School in Southwark have limited outdoor space so all of their growing is in trugs and raised beds built on the playground, and with help from Walworth Garden Farm, they have also started growing food on the roof of the school.
They have lost a bit of playground area but the children play around the beds which makes the space more dynamic. Now they’re thinking of how to make opportunities to grow upwards, using archways and trellis to get the most out of every square foot.
Suzy Gregory, Co-Deputy Headteacher suggests getting a planter as big as you can afford, and just start growing. Plant something easy like lettuce, potatoes or tomatoes and give it a grow!
Recipe for Success
- Look at your space with new eyes and think creatively, use these resources to help choose crops that do well in small spaces
- Growing on the windowsill
- Planting in containers, growing potatoes in containers, container gardens
- Growing in container ideas
- Small manageable spaces can produce lots of different types of crops, this resource form Garden Organic helps you get the most out of a 120x120cm space
- If you want to gain as much growing area as possible consider your school roof but make sure you seek advice from professionals first
What better way to show off the school’s new-found gardening skills than to Grow Your Own Picnic to share with pupils, parents and the local community.
The FREE Grow Your Own Picnic Pack from Food Growing Schools: London is jammed full of advice, tips and activities to help you plan and grow crops and then turn them into delicious home-made dips, sandwiches, salads and other delights to create a summer picnic feast.
The pack also includes advice for linking with your local community to generate support for your growing activities and to share the spoils of success at the end of the summer term.
So what are you waiting for? Download the Grow Your Own Picnic pack now and start to harvest the benefits of school food growing.
New funding secured to continue
We are delighted to announce plans to build on the fantastic achievements of Food Growing Schools: London by continuing to promote food growing in London schools.
For the past three years, Garden Organic has been leading the Food Growing Schools: London partnership (funded by the Big Lottery Fund), working with the Mayor of London, Capital Growth, the Soil Association’s Food For Life project, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), School Food Matters and Trees for Cities.
Due to end in March this year, Food Growing Schools: London has achieved remarkable results helping to promote and support food growing, healthy eating and sustainability in schools across London. Now, thanks to financial support from a major donor, Garden Organic is thrilled to be able to build on the successes and learning of this project for a further 12 months.
Chris Collins, Head of Organic Horticulture at Garden Organic and former Blue Peter Gardener, is thrilled that this project will continue: “It’s such an uplifting piece of news – Garden Organic has made great strides in the past three years, highlighting and supporting the fundamental importance of organic food growing in schools.” He commented. “Understanding the process from seed to plate is a life skill, and the hard work of those involved in the Food Growing Schools: London project has made great leaps in educating the next generation. However the work is far from done; we have set off on the road and it is superb news that continued funding enables us to carry on this positive work.”
Garden Organic’s Head of Education, Colette Bond has been involved in the project since its inception. “Garden Organic has, for decades, been involved in encouraging children to grow food. We know that something as simple as growing fruit and veg organically can have a life-changing impact on children.” She commented. “A large number of London pupils have never been exposed to food growing. We’re delighted with the impact the Food Growing Schools: London project has had so far, and to now have the opportunity to continue this work.”
This support will allow Garden Organic to evolve the project over a 12 month period; to enhance the most successful elements so that even more schools embrace food growing and enjoy the life-changing benefits it has been proven to bring.
The Food Growing Schools: London website has information and downloadable resources for schools interested in accessing the support offered. Alternatively, to discuss the project further, or to talk through specific requirements, please contact email@example.com.
About the project
Food Growing Schools: London, launched in 2013, was established to increase the number of London schools growing food. Through a combination of hands on support, teacher training, termly growing activities and regular events, the project has delivered impressive achievements. An independent review of Food Growing Schools: London reported that 87% of London schools surveyed are now involved in growing, with 1 in 4 linking food growing directly to the curriculum. This take up of food growing activities has led to a significant increase in pupils being more aware of healthy eating and sustainability – enabling them to start making healthy life choices from an early age.
The independent external evaluation of the project, completed in 2016 by the University of the West of England, is available to download here.
From strawberry jam to tomato ketchup, and the great British apple to winter salad bags – young entrepreneurs from 10 London schools shared their food growing skills with the public at City Hall on Thursday 13 October 2016. They represent the increasing number of London students experiencing the huge benefits of food growing since the launch of Food Growing Schools: London (FGSL) in 2013.
On Thursday 13 October 2016 during a unique FGSL Celebration Event, students showcased their school-grown produce at the sixth FGSL Schools Marketplace, run in partnership with Capital Growth, and took to the stage in the prestigious London’s Living Room.
The event was opened by Joanne McCartney AM, Deputy Mayor for London, and Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare, for the Greater London Authority. It included the launch of the FGSL Interim Report (October 2016), showing the wide ranging benefits of food growing. There was also FGSL’s very own Junior Gardener’s Question Time, chaired by former Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins – with food growing questions answered by children from schools across London.
When he attended the last Schools Marketplace at City Hall, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “ I’m really pleased to host the Schools Marketplace in City Hall. I want to help Londoners to have access to better food, and lead healthier lifestyles, so it’s great to see these young people growing their own grub and developing entrepreneurial skills.”
Students from schools in Croydon, Ealing, Greenwich, Haringey, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Richmond and Southwark took part, and won prizes as part of the *Schools Marketplace Competition.
*Schools Marketplace participants and competition prize winners:
- Athelney Primary School, Lewisham
- Charlton Park Academy, Greenwich
- Dormers Wells High School, Ealing
- Elmwood Primary School, Croydon
- *Holy Trinity C of E Primary School, Lewisham: Winners – ‘Best Dressed Stall’
- *Kelvin Grove Primary School, Lewisham: Winners – ‘People’s Choice’
- Reay Primary School, Lambeth
- *Rokesly Junior School, Haringey: Winners – ‘Most Enterprising Product’
- Rotherhithe Primary School, Southwark
- Trafalgar Infant School, Richmond
Mark Dale-Emberton, Principle at Charlton Park Academy, Greenwich said: “Working with Food Growing Schools: London has helped us re-evaluate and reenergise the staff and students. We have looked afresh at our curriculum and how we can use the food that we grow to improve our meals, health and general wellbeing.”
Since their launch in 2013, Food Growing Schools: London have seen an amazing 25 out of 33 London boroughs step up to promote food growing in schools. The Benefits of Food Growing are impressive and far reaching – showing a positive impact on children’s physical and mental health, environment and education, and the local community and economy. Nearly 80% of schools engaged with FGSL have reported improved behaviour or attainment in students as a result of food growing, and one in four schools now use food growing as a teaching tool linked to curriculum activities. The FGSL report, containing the outcomes of an independent project evaluation by University of the West England, celebrates the successes of this innovative London-wide partnership, led by Garden Organic. The project is supported by the Mayor of London and the Big Lottery Fund.
James Campbell, Chief Executive, Garden Organic said: “I am deeply proud of what we have achieved so far — *87% of London schools are now growing food and considerably more pupils, parents, community members and businesses are involved.”
Speakers at the celebration event included Chris Collins (former Blue Peter Gardener, Broadcaster and Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic), James Campbell (CEO Garden Organic), Judy Orme (Professor of Public Health and Sustainability) and Mat Jones (Associate Professor of Public Health, University of West England).
Chris Collins, Broadcaster and Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic said: “I’m lucky to be out and about meeting students all the time, and it’s been amazing to see the difference Food Growing Schools: London is having in our London schools. The food growing support, resources and expertise the partnership provides is fantastic. Every school should take advantage and get involved!”
Whether you are already growing food in your school, you wish to get started, or you represent an organisation who can help, Food Growing Schools: London is open to all to Get Involved.
Spokespeople – Chris Collins (Broadcaster and Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic) and James Campbell (CEO Garden Organic)
Food Growing Schools: London is an ambitious Lottery funded project, supported by the Mayor of London that aims to get every London school growing their own food. Garden Organic as the lead organisation is working together with partners, Capital Growth, the Soil Association’s Food For Life project, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), School Food Matters and Trees for Cities. The Schools Marketplace, organised with FGSL partner Capital Growth, took place as part of Grow Your Own Business 2016. #GYOBusiness
FGSL Interim Project Report (October 2016)*
An independent project evaluation by University of the West England (Bristol), summarising the progress of the programme in its third year, assessing the impacts of FGSL for participants and wider stakeholders, focusing on schools and those supporting school food growing. To download the full report visit: Our Achievements
*Figures based on evaluation surveys with lead school teachers in September 2013 (n=504) and July 2016 (n=241). The independent FGSL project evaluation was carried out by research teams from the University of the West England and Cardiff University.
Schools Marketplace, City Hall – Thursday 13 October 2016
The day has nearly come for the sixth FGSL Schools Marketplace at City Hall. Students from 10 schools in Croydon, Ealing, Greenwich, Haringey, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Richmond and Southwark will be taking part, including:
Athelney Primary School – Lewisham
Charlton Park Academy – Greenwich
Dormers Wells High School – Ealing
Elmwood Primary School – Croydon
Holy Trinity C of E Primary School – Lewisham
Kelvin Grove Primary School – Lewisham
Reay Primary School – Lambeth
Rokesly Junior School – Haringey
Rotherhithe Primary School – Southwark
Trafalgar Infant School – Richmond
To celebrate all this fantastic growing, we will be awarding prizes during the day for Best Dressed Stall, Most Enterprising Product and for the People’s Choice of their favourite stall.
Join us from 11am – 2pm on the Lower Ground Floor (Map area) to try out some tasty school-grown produce and Autumn treats. The event is organised with project partner, Capital Growth.
Our main FGSL Celebration Event will also be taking place upstairs in London’s Living Room at City Hall, from 10.45am – 1.30pm, with a chance to visit the Schools Marketplace during the day.
City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London, SE1 2AA
See you there!
There are less than three weeks to go until our Food Growing Schools: London celebration event. Have you booked your FREE ticket to join us at City Hall?
The FGSL office is a hive of activity as we prepare for the big day. We are pleased to announce that the event held at London’s Living Room will be opened by Joanne McCartney AM, Statutory Deputy Mayor for London, and Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare, for the Greater London Authority.
We also have some fantastic activities lined up for you – including Junior Gardener’s Question Time – chaired by former Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins – with an opportunity for you to get your food growing questions answered!
A Celebration of Food Growing Schools: London
On: Thursday 13 October 2016
From: 10.45am – 1.30pm (please arrive promptly for registration)
At: London’s Living Room, City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London, SE1 2AA
Join us to celebrate the achievements of the project and to hear about the transformational effects of school food growing first hand from teachers and pupils that have been involved.
Hear inspirational presentations from guest speakers, look at the findings of our research and have the opportunity to network over a tasty lunch. You can also buy school-grown produce at our fabulous Schools Marketplace downstairs!
Whether you are already growing food in your school, you wish to get started, or you represent an organisation who can help – this event is for you. All welcome!
See our previous blog for more details and how to book!
Thursday 20 October 2016, 1.00pm – 2.00pm. FREE ENTRY.
Croydon Clocktower, Katharine Street, CR9 1ET
On Thursday 20 October, enterprising schools in the Food Flagship borough of Croydon will be hosting their very own Schools Marketplace at the Croydon Clocktower. Their second local Schools Marketplace coincides with this Autumn term’s Grow Your Own Business activities which see schools all across London growing, harvesting, packaging, promoting and selling in their local communities.
The lucky Croydon schools will show off their school grow produce from 1-2pm, selling everything from locally grown fresh fruit to vegetables, herbs, plants, jams and chutneys, all on sale for competitive prices! The Schools Marketplace is free to enter and open to all. So roll up, roll up and do your shopping in Croydon, but be careful to get there quickly before you miss out on all these edible treats. You may even find something tasty for your lunch there too! For more information about this event please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t miss out on another exciting opportunity – the sixth FGSL Schools Marketplace at City Hall taking place on Thursday 13 October 2016, and our fantastic FGSL Celebration Event, hosted by the GLA in the prestigious London’s Living Room at City Hall on the same day.
Visit our Training and Events page to find out about more school food growing and enterprise activities taking place near you this Autumn.
We are delighted to announce that we will be celebrating the success of Food Growing Schools: London (FGSL) with a special event in the London’s Living Room at City Hall on Thursday 13 October, from 10.45am to 1.30pm, including lunch.
The event will be hosted by the GLA and opened by the Deputy Mayor of London Joanne McCartney. It will be a fantastic opportunity to bring together people from across the capital that have been part of our journey and that join us in our ambition to get every London school growing their own food!
Coinciding with our final Schools Marketplace in partnership with Capital Growth at City Hall, everyone coming to the event will also have the opportunity to visit the 15 stalls held by children on the Lower Ground floor. As always, schools will showcase their food growing by selling school grown produce and products such as chutneys, jams, herbs and winter salads. What better way to start our FGSL celebration than to see enterprising schools at work! The Schools Marketplace takes place as part of Grow Your Own Business activities this Autumn term.
Speakers at the celebration event include Chris Collins (Broadcaster and Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic), James Campbell (CEO Garden Organic), Professor Judy Orme MFPH (MSc Health Promotion), and Mat Jones MPhil, BA, PG Cert (University of West England) who will share the great successes of Food Growing Schools: London to date.
It will be a chance to look at why food growing is important and the transformational impact it can have on children and schools that get involved. We will hear first-hand from teachers and children about the benefits and why they think EVERY school in London should grow their own food.
To find out more and to book a place visit Eventbrite.
Our sixth (and final!) School Marketplace in partnership with Capital Growth will be held at City Hall on Thursday 13 October, from 11am to 2pm. All schools within Capital Growth network* are invited to take part, but you must sign up quickly as there are only 15 spaces available.
The FGSL theme for food growing this term is Grow Your Own Business and the Marketplace is a fine example of schools bringing that theme to life! Schools will once again be joining us to show off and sell their home-grown produce and products, such as jams, chutneys, herbs and winter salad bags.
To celebrate all this fantastic growing, we will be awarding prizes during the day for Best Dressed Stall, Most Enterprising Product and for the People’s Choice of their favourite stall.
We will also announce the winners of our FGSL Schools Survey prize draw, with prizes including a meal for two at Wahaca worth £50 and a visit from the FGSL team to give one-to-one gardening support. Last chance to win by completing our survey.
We were delighted to have the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan visit our Marketplace event this July. He visited every single stall and said, “It’s great to see these young people growing their own grub and developing entrepreneurial skills.”
Our final Marketplace promises to be just as special, coinciding with a Food Growing Schools: London Celebration Event taking place the same day in London’s Living Room at the top of City Hall. Every delegate will be visiting the Marketplace before the event – no doubt making it our busiest schools market ever!
To apply: Simply download, complete and return the application form to Maddie at email@example.com by Wednesday 28 September:
* If you’re not yet part of the Capital Growth network it’s free and really easy to join so get that done today and then you’re ready to apply to be part of the Marketplace too.
Discover more FGSL Training and Events this Autumn Term.